Rock Memoirs

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"Strongly recommend to anyone who has had any relationship with classic ..." - by Zack
Steven Hyden has an honest and humanist approach to music criticism that makes Twilight of the Gods a real blast to read. Strongly recommend to anyone who has had any relationship with classic rock!
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"it's like....Sitting across from Noel Monk hearing him tell it like he saw his travels with Van Halen" - by CyberTiger (NW Indiana)
Written in a semi-structured semi chronological way, random stories about singular episodes of life with VH as individuals and most as Van Halen's rise from a party band in California to the national and international stage.

I found myself intrigued and entertained as some of Noel's recollections were quite humorous such as quotes "Edward fought the wall and the wall one"...hilarious but at the same time revealing in that although Ed and Al were "adults" they still have a pre-teen attitude when it came to disagreements or sibling rivalry.

We learn of the brothers quite normal yet disfunctional family. Every family has quirks. I don't want to spoil this for the reader.

It also brought out anger and dismay as I was taken aback that my perception of the brothers Van Halen and Roth (to a lesser degree, because he is as I figured arrogant and self-serving, but still for some ... full review
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"A great read" - by Jamesville Dad (Jamesville, NY)
I finished the book in two days. A great look into the life of one of the biggest pop/rock icons of his generation. I found myself listening to his songs again in the days following, as they take on a whole new meaning when you know what he was thinking as he was writing them. PS - I never knew he was a conga player :-)
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"The Deacon pontificates" - by Kiyoshi (Clearview, WA)
For those of us who love Steely Dan, this is a great read. You get to find out more about Fagan's influences and his psyche. As a fan of the Dan, you should expect flippant references to obscure cultural references. He is smart, and acerbic--again no surprises. What is a surprise is how fluent he is as a writer. And of course his wit. The man occasionally nails something in a way both hilarious and true. Take his assessment of Ike Turner:

"Ike’s concept (really a more raw and countrified version of Ray Charles’s act) was simple: the band plays tight; Tina goes berserk."

In the latter half he documents his descent into "ATD"--or "Active Tour Disorder"--characterized by his increasing surliness and frustrations with life on the road. Some of the other readers may take it too seriously. I'm sure he was surly and impatient. But he's funny as ... full review
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"personal and detailed" - by I. Davila (Chicago, IL)
Great read. I didn't realize that Lita had slept with so many musicians. I am more of a Runaways fan, so I was happy to see that she covered this era in depth. It was oddly not very detailed on the 80's metal stuff as much. It was an intensely personal book, so she does come off as a genuine person. She's survived music business stuff and personal battles really well it seems. She has a bad man picker, which is surprising for someone with such a stable upbringing. Well worth the time it took to read. I read it quickly because it was very engaging.
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"the account of Richard Lloyd's life reads like fiction, but it's all true" - by SPinPDX
A true rock and roll odyssey, the account of Richard Lloyd's life reads like fiction, but it's all true. In a somewhat, random, non-linear, unabashedly honest memoir, we trace Lloyd's curious personal journey from precocious, self-aware childhood; to an adolescence that found him receiving semi-direct musical instruction (and a solid punch) from Jimi Hendrix—an adolescence wherein he conceived of a wish that he would pursue for the rest of his life.

Along the way, in that pursuit of his wish, he would mingle with any number of rock stars (and their girlfriends). He would join forces with Thomas Miller to form Television, one of the seminal bands of the '70s, and beyond. He would help to build the actual stage at CBGB, thus allowing his band to receive regular billing at a club where a generation of music was spawned. His life descended into a pit of drugsrocksex, but was resurrected ... full review
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"How one man survived the Dead in one piece" - by Robert E (Independence, OR USA)
Cross the free-associative rambling narrative style of "Clockwork Orange" with some juicy details about what managing a rock band is like and you have a good idea of what this book is about. One man's journey through the belly of the whale known as the Grateful Dead, told briskly with an abundant sense of humor despite the carnage, makes for a very entertaining read.

Other reviewers here are essentially correct about where this book stands in relation to other tomes regarding the Dead: Jackson's biography of Garcia is well-written but heartbreaking, Lesh's autobiography is gritty but inherently dry and technical, and McNally's history of the band is detail-oriented but distant. None of them have the "everyman" quality that this book has, that certain human relatability that draws you in by the lapels and keeps you there with engrossing stories-within-the-story on every page. The result is a 400-some-odd-page book that can be ... full review
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"A valuable rock history." - by Mark D. (Yorktown, Indiana)
This is an important book - more than most would think - given the fact that women in music STILL do not enjoy the same status as men.

I've enjoyed Heart since their first album, Dreamboat Annie, was released but haven't followed them closely over the years. This book filled in gaps in knowledge and also lent a great insight into what makes the Wilsons' contributions so valuable.

The multiple viewpoints offered in each chapter were very much appreciated, as the differences added a lot of depth to the story. Personal details are handled with care; it's obvious the Wilsons are not the typical "rock stars" or "celebrity" types.

The book was easy and conversational; the tone of the speaker was apparent, and it was important that this wasn't overly tampered-with, though the copy could have used a little more editing in spots.

I would like to see another book that deals more with ... full review
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"Didn't Cover Stuff that I Probably Shouldn't Have Expected" - by Bill Reich (Branford, Ct USA)
To quote Paul Kantner during a live performance in, I think 1988,
"This is Grace Slick, the mother of my child, the devil incarnate."
Overall, this book tells us why Grace Slick, whose talent would have been enough for world domination, wasn't a bigger star. She wasn't focused on being a big star. She started singing because it looked like more fun and better money than modeling and she clearly never knew how good she was. She was focused on whatever she was going to do next but stardom was a minor issue to her, quite unimportant.
She didn't let the boys push her into the role of "girl backup singer" but that wasn't an urge for stardom; it was her natural tendency to resist being told what to do. Her predecessor with the Airplane, Signe Anderson, didn't resist and you can rarely hear her voice on "Takes off," the only album she ... full review
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"On Leopard Rock" - by Rod Williams
I am so thankful for this book, traveling into Wilbur Smith's life with him as the guide. I made the statement to my wife what an amazing gentleman he is and how honored I feel to have known him through his books!
I began reading Wilbur Smith's books in 1985 while living in Alaska, having my own adventures of hunting, fishing and learning to fly so I could explore all there is in Alaska. Truth is, start his books and you can't put them down!!!
I have read every book he wrote! His stories have enabled me to to experience every expedition, every excitement and travesty of Africa!
I have made the commitment to myself that I am going to read all his books again! For this I am very thankful.
My Dad had told me when I was young that I would meet a person in my life that would hold all that ... full review
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"A story of a band reunion and the music keeps on going!" - by J D Jung (LA, CA, USA)
This band started in the mid-60's at U.C. Santa Barbara and has all the ups and downs of a regional musical group with a following that never gets the breaks to make it nationally. The West Coast music scene was changing and music was a nice escape from the civil unrest and the Viet Nam draft during these turbuent times .However, what makes this story different is that they break up and go on to their work careers and then thirty years later decide to reunite and play another day. The story is about friendships that don't disappear with time. It's a fun read as their music is a strong bond that has them come back again and again.
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"A Rather Interesting Read" - by Ima Nobody (Seekonk, MA USA)
I am neither a Megadeth nor Metallica fan - I am a casual listener of both - so I did not buy this book out of some blind devotion for all things connected to either band. However, in recent years I have read many blurbs or quotes from Mustaine and found him to be rather humorous and insightful. I read an excerpt from this book and put on my to-read list and about a year later, here I am.

First off, Mustaine (or his handler) is a good writer. He kept the entire book interesting and I was always reluctantly putting the book (or Kindle, rather) down at bedtime or at the end of my lunch break. Despite Mustaine leading a somewhat common life to rock and rollers of that era, it's still fresh for some reason.

Second, I had no idea how much his firing from Metallica ... full review
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"So good." - by wiflyangler (wisconsin)
Self-aware. Bone dry funny. Super solid writing. Captures a certain time for certain kids. Went to those same Ramones and X shows in basement bars and gloriously dilapidated former theaters in the '80's in the upper midwest. Replacements, Husker Du, Ani DiFranco all figuring themselves out in front of all of us figuring ourselves out, and laughing, nursing hangovers, and plowing ahead with some really great music as our soundtrack. Thank you Jeff, Jay, Jay, and the rest.
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"A great read." - by David A. Burack (Brooklyn, NY)
Not just behind the scenes stories, of which there are many: The ins and outs of the music business as it transitioned into and through the rock ’n roll era, by a mostly unsung (undersung?) hero who made even iconic artists sound better. Matter-of-fact anecdotes in a lively and personal style, about the real people with their virtues and foibles who make up our popular music legacy. By an articulate writer-- a rarity for someone IN the business-- himself an accomplished composer, omni-instrument player, and a musician’s musician. And I learned what a producer does!
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"Punk Rock Must Read (NOW)" - by MyLifeAsAHandGrenade (chico, ca United States)
One of the more entertaining rock and roll reads I have ever picked up. Phil Marcade was a French kid, that fell in to some crazy adventures while traveling throughout America in the early seventies. He does eventually settle in New York City, the setting for most of the book. Marcade, as spectator and musician becomes another colorful character in the cast of many, detailing events playing in bands and befriending some of the musicians that would make history from the era (including The Cramps, Ramones, and notably Johnny Thunders). The shadow of the Dolls, and Thunders looms large here, as Phil and Johnny became fast friends, and really grew to know one another over time. Cannot recommend this enough, it's a relatively short book (just over 200 pages), but what it has got to communicate, and how the author manages this, makes the book truly memorable.